Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Dr. Hans Mol
This thesis explains the earliest years of Quakerism through perspectives and theories provided by contemporary sociological research on millenarian sectarianism. Chapters One and Two are devoted to critical reviews of the social scientific literature on millenarian sectarianism, particularly relative deprivation theories and community-building theories. In Chapter Three, aspects of these theories are applied to Quaker history, and in Chapter Four a modified version of Bryan R. Wilson's "dominant responses to the world" categories are used heuristically to explore the internal dynamics within the early Quaker movement.
The methodology employed by the study, that of testing millenarian sectarian theory against early Quaker history, allows several important theoretical facts to emerge. Among the most important is the clarification of distinctions between a religious movement and a social movement. Furthermore, the complexities of Quaker history highlight the heuristic viability of using a sixfold classification when analyzing group leadership variables.
Kent, Stephen A., "A Sociological Interpretation of Millenarian Quakerism--1648-1662" (1980). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 2789.